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iOS 4.1 update for iPhone out on Wednesday?

The iOS 4.1 software update, the first major update to iOS 4 since the operating system's release for the iPhone 4, 3GS and 3G, should be out this Wednesday.

The iOS 4.1 software update, the first major update to iOS 4 since the operating system's release for the iPhone 4, 3GS and 3G, should be out this Wednesday.

We say 'should' because Engadget captured a screenshot of Apple's UK website showing a September 8 arrival date, but that date has since been removed. It wouldn't be a surprise if Apple had to iron out a few bugs, but we'd raise our eyebrows quizzically if the update didn't appear this week.

Version 4.1 of the operating system will deliver some significant updates, and its release coincides with the arrival of the new iPod touch, which will run on iOS 4.1. Note that the first-generation iPod touch won't get the upgrade, nor will the first-gen iPhone.

One major new feature is the addition of the Game Center software. That will let iPhone and iPod touch gamers challenge and play each other. The software will also be able to match you with similarly skilled opponents, show your scores to other players, and find out what games other people are playing.

Game Center could be the biggest change in the 4.1 update. It means Apple now has a mobile gaming service to rival the live services offered by Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PlayStation. We imagine Apple's social gaming service will be similarly successful. Games like The Sims or Football Manager would be well suited to use with Game Center.

In the case of the iPhone 4, the update will improve photo and video capture. A new high-dynamic-range setting combines multiple images taken at different exposures and combines them to offer a better shot. Wannabe movie makes will also have the ability to upload 720p, high-definition video to YouTube and MobileMe.

There are a number of reasons why we weren't particularly impressed by Apple's new social music service, Ping. But the 4.1 update will see it arrive on the iPhone and iPod touch, and the service could potentially prove more useful if it works seamlessly on such music players. It also shouldn't be as painfully slow as it can be on a desktop PC.

Unfortunately, unlike in the US, Brits won't be able to rent TV shows straight from their iPhone or iPod touch. But, if Apple signs deals with UK broadcasters, the capability is essentially there.

Apple has already worked out which features may be on the way in the next software update, iOS 4.2, which should be out in November. That update is mainly aimed at the iPad, but will also apply to the iPhone and iPod touch. The main feature is the addition of multitasking for the iPad, but the update will also add the ability to print wirelessly from Apple devices. Another feature of note is AirPlay, which will allow you to stream video, music and photos from mobile Apple devices to Apple TV.

Will this update make a difference to your iPhone or iPod touch experience? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image credit: Engadget